Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Coconut Oil; Beware, it's an Obsession!


Coconut oil has become wildly popular in recent years, so much so that since I began research for this post last week, 4 of my favorite blogs posted about it's benefits! It has been a well kept secret for ages in coastal areas and warm climate countries. Predominately used for cooking, the flavor is most often associated with Asian style curries or many of those fruity drinks folks purchase on beach vacations. It is high in saturated fat but due to it's chemical make-up it breaks down in your system quickly before it can be converted to fat leaving it immediately available as energy.

There are so many uses for coconut oil apart from cooking. First the obvious, it is highly moisturizing, leaving your skin feeling supple and replenished.  It has a warm scent that is gentle and does not linger.  It is both anti-microbial and anti-fungal so when used topically it will promote healthy skin regeneration, not pimples!  It works wonders on the under eye and chest areas where skin is more delicate and prone to wrinkling.  Lastly and my favorite, it actually can help you lose weight and feel more energetic, this comes back to it's chemical make-up because it is a saturated fat you feel fuller for longer but it doesn't turn into fat easily in your body.  Some women have claimed that their cellulite disappeared when they started taking 1-2 teaspoons a day orally (WOW)!  What is not to love about this wonderful oil?

I first picked up a large container of coconut oil after reading of the health benefits of cooking with it.  One fact that really got me was that since it is solid at room temperature it is less susceptible to becoming rancid, lasting often up to two years.  Also it is not a highly processed or refined oil such as our supermarket canola or vegetable oils and won't break down and oxidize when heat is applied aka. cooking.  Nor is it GM which cannot be said for many of the "cooking" oils out there.  Here is a great description of when and how to use fats from one of my favorite bloggers over at Empowered Sustenance.Hers was the first blog I ever read when I first started my real food journey.  She has a great little print out for quick reference.  While you are there you should definitely browse her blog, she is chock full of information!

coco-oil2Currently I purchase Carrington Farms brand Coconut oil in my local club store but there are many varieties available in smaller quantities so you don't have to commit right away (remember this stuff practically never goes bad).  Tropical Traditions is a well loved company, and Spectrum and Nutiva brands are available in most health or whole food markets.  I quickly found the amount I am using on a daily basis it is best for me to go with larger containers.

Coconut Oil Recipes

Coco-Coffee Sugar (or salt) Scrub

This moisturizing and exfoliating scrub can be used daily however, if you have sensitive skin, use it 1-2 times a week to keep your skin smooth and soft. If you choose to use salt rather than sugar make sure you use the scrub before shaving as the salt can irritate freshly shaved skin. This is a great use for those coffee grounds that would normally be trash.
  • 1 Cup Coffee Grounds
  • 1 Cup Organic Coarse Sugar or Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
Slowly melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low flame. Pour into a pint size mason jar or other airtight container and mix in the coffee grounds and sugar or salt.

Skin Smoothing Deodorant

This deodorant passed the workout test! Mind you, I did sweat, and you are supposed to, but I did not stink. Commercial products contain many harmful chemicals that are absorbed through your sweat glands and into your system. This will keep you smelling fresh and your body will begin to heal from the chemicals in commercial products and you will begin to sweat less! This is a small recipe that can be doubled when you decide to switch over completely.
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Oil
  • ¼ Cup Arrowroot Powder -cornstarch may be used
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 5 drops Tea Tree, Rose Absolute, Lavender, or Essential Oil of your choice
Cream the first 3 ingredients together in a bowl. Add the essential oil and mix until combined. Store in ½ pint mason jar or other airtight container. Apply a small amount with your fingers or a make-up sponge as you would commercial deodorant.

Coconut Oil Face Cleansing

You won't believe me until you try it but your skin will be clearer and cleaner by using this method. As with most new and healing regimes, sometimes your skin gets a little worse before it gets better. There will be a short grace period before you see the major results but, please, stick with it. I promise you will be so happy you did!

  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Jojoba Oil
Slowly melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add the jojoba oil and pour into a small glass airtight container.

I learned about this method of cleansing from Thank Your Body and decided to try it with coconut oil.  I have been very happy with the results.

To Use:

Pour a ½ tsp amount into your hands, rubbing together to warm, if the coconut oil has resolidified make sure you get a bit of both oils in your hands, they will recombine. Begin rubbing into your face using slow, massaging circles. Take your time with this, relax and enjoy the facial massage. Turn on the hot water and heat until it's the warmest you can take but not enough to burn. Wet a soft cloth and hold to your face for 10-15 seconds then wipe your face gently to remove the oil. Repeat a few times until the oil is removed. Apply a very small amount of oil under your eyes and if needed to dry points on your face.

Grain-free Banana Pancakes

  • 1 Banana, mashed
  • 2 Eggs
  • Sprinkle of warming spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 tsp Coconut oil
  • ¼ Cup Homemade or Greek Yogurt
  • Handful Berries
Whisk together Banana and Eggs in a bowl. Heat Coconut Oil over medium heat, preferably in non-stick skillet. Pour in Banana mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 5-7 more minutes. Remove to a plate, top with the yogurt and berries. Enjoy!

Coconut Oil Mayo

This may be for a real die hard coconut oil fan. I made it the other day replacing the oil called for with coconut oil. The hubinator did not notice, simply thought it was a bit tart I however, enjoyed it immensely but would not use it to replace mayo in a ham sandwich for instance. It would be great for a tropical coleslaw, as a dip for battered fish (fried in coconut oil of course) or for a curried chicken salad. You can substitute half the coconut oil for olive oil if desired. This mayo can be fermented as well for a longer lasting fridge life, simply add 1 Tbsp of Whey and leave out for 7-10 hrs for the bacteria to do their job.

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Oil
Gently melt Coconut oil in small sauce pan, set aside to cool slightly. In food processor, combine yolks, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined, about 10 seconds. With machine running, gradually add oil in slow steady stream, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and process 5 seconds longer. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Quick and Easy Everyday uses for Coconut Oil

Apply a small amount to cuticles and callouses before bed.

Dab a bit under and around your eyes to soften skin and reduce wrinkles.

Add a teaspoon to your morning coffee to help moisturize from within.

For Curly Hair: Apply a small amount to your hair and comb through after conditioning to help tame frizz.

For Straight Hair: Apply a small amount to your ends after towel drying and let hair air dry or heat style as usual.

Use a thin layer of coconut oil instead of shaving cream.

Apply a small amount to your body before you towel off, while you are still wet from the shower and your pores are good and open from the heat.  Towel off and go about your usual routine.  Great for winter when your skin is extra dry.

*Many of the recipes used here are adaptations of recipes I have found on the internet.  I have played around with them until I found what worked best or tasted best to me.  I urge you to experiment with the quantities, making small batches at first to find what suits your skin best.  As with most new things, test it out before slathering your body with it!  If you are concerned about any essential oils mentioned, please use the best quality available and definitely test on your skin!

No comments:

Post a Comment